tv CNN Newsroom CNN December 26, 2012 11:00am-1:00pm PST
thank you, suzanne. i'm victor blackwell in for brooke baldwin. thank you for being with us today. the president is pulling the plug on his trip to hawaii to tend to urgent matters in washington. with tax hikes looming in less than a week, he's scheduled to return to the white house tomorrow, just as a deadlocked congress reconvenes days ahead of the so-called fiscal cliff. you're just six days from feeling this. now, first hit is coming on january 1st when your take home pay will drop by 2% because of a scheduled hike in the social security payroll tax. that's just the start. income taxes are set to climb too. and you'll notice that when employer gets to around the adjusted withholding, the government spending cuts, those are also scheduled for january 1st and bound to slow the economy and some argue they'll weaken the military.
congress has seen this coming, but an effort to limit the damage failed last week. republican house speaker john boehner could not persuade enough members of his party to let tax rates rise on incomes over a million dollars while sparing everyone else. dana bash is our senior congressional correspondent. dana, this time tomorrow, the president is supposed to be back, having cut his trip to hawaii short, the first lady, the girls are staying in hawaii. the senate is supposed to convene, but not necessarily the house. what is going to happen? >> reporter: well, we're not really sure. in fact, house republican leaders are having a conference call, i'm told, as we speak, to figure out that very question. they told their members that they would have 48 hours notice before they reconvene the house and so at the earliest, that would be on friday. but, you know, the action really is now going to begin in the senate. there isn't that much of a rush for the house to come back. and when i say action, even that is a question mark. whether there will be action. i was talking to a democratic source who said right now what
they had to figure out, victor, is whether or not harry reid working with the white house on this can get enough votes from republicans to cross party lines for even a scaled back measure, which the president laid out in general on friday, would just be to keep americans' taxes where they are for those making $250,000 or less. and to do a couple of other things, unemployment benefits, maybe, maybe extend the estate tax cut, which is -- which is also going to run out, but, again, they're not even -- the senator won't even consider doing this, i'm told, unless he's sure they'll get through the senate and the house because politically they don't think there is any reason for congress to take votes that are just going to fail. also, they that i it will be bad for the markets, even worse for the markets to have failed votes and then go off the fiscal cliff. >> so the idea that john boehner is even having this conference call, discussing the possibility
of bringing the house back into order, is that an indication that he's optimistic that there will be something that he could get a few minority, even of his party to support? >> reporter: i, you know, i like the idea of being optimistic, especially in this holiday season, but i think that probably not. i think this is really more of a housekeeping question because they have to tell their members something and the question is when they r thare they going to. you know, stranger things have happened. the other thing i'm told, when you're talking about timing here, is that the senate democrats really -- the people who run it, that they have seen this movie before, so to speak, and they know that the pressure really is only on at the 11th hour. i know we're only six days away, but we really do have until december 30th or 31st. the thinking inside the senate, at least among democrats, is that they won't be able to
pressure enough republicans to cross party lines for anything until probably the very last minute, until the last day or two. so that really would mean the house probably wouldn't have to come back until december 30th or 31st. >> is there enough time? if we start counting back from midnight going into january 1st and you think that the bill has to be written and printed and members have to read it and there has to be discussion and negotiations, and the president isn't even back in d.c. yet, is there time if they were to start now to get all this done in time? >> reporter: there is. there is. there are rules, for example, the house republicans put in place when they came into power in 2010 that members have three days to read the bill. they have broken those rules more than once on big issues. but so there is time to do it. the other thing to keep in mind is that the markets are closed on january 1st. so there isn't going to be a big real world reaction until maybe january 2nd if we do go over the
cliff. they have a little bit of time, not much. i learned in my many years of covering congress that to answer your question that they can take up the time that they need to get things done, but then once they see the real deadline, if there is a desire, they can get things done pretty fast. >> all right. six days, dana bash, from washington. thank you. >> reporter: thank you. now to this wild weather causing a headache for holiday travelers. snow and sleet are disrupting things for drivers in indiana right now. the day after christmas usually means a trip to the mall. for a lot of people. checking for sales or exchanges, you know the deal. but for people like the ones you're seeing now, and others in the midwest and south, this is cleanup time. they have got the shovels out. they have got the snow blowers. they have got to clear that ice after tornadoes also like this one touched down last night. look. >> it's right there.
>> we got to hurry up and get past. >> yeah, this is one of 30 tornadoes that spun out of the storm system that damaged at least 125 homes and businesses. happened across alabama, other parts of the south overnight. and we have learned now that more than 25 people were injured in mississippi. three people died in texas, oklahoma and arkansas. officials are working to restore power to about 21,000 customers in alabama. a total of 200,000 are without power across several states. this historic high school in mobile was devastated by a tornado. look at this. murphy high was built in 1920, portable classrooms were tossed the length of a football field. one staff member toured the damage. >> it is a wonderful. i don't know what we're going to do with the kids when they come back. this is a dangerous situation with the windows blown out. this is just devastating.
>> alexandra steele is here to tell us where this storm is headed. the storm, a rough time for the weather story. >> mobile getting hit twice. two tornados on 209the 20th ande 25th. 30 reported tornadoes, some may be duplicates, may be in the teens or 20s. regardless, yesterday will go down in the history books as the most -- the greatest number of tornadoes on christmas day since records have been kept. so the severe threat, though, not out of the woods yet. it is improving. but you can see this is a look at the carolina coast, north carolina and south carolina. and this red box shows you where the tornado watch is posted and that is until 5:00 tonight. and what the watch means is atmospherically conditions are ripe for tornados to spin up and just before i went on the air, we did have a tornado warning posted for wayne county, north carolina. but that has since been lifted. still, we are under the threat
until 5:00. you see where all the lightning is. so that's a severe threat. it is moving to the east and coming to an end. but the snow side, not so much, not done by 5:00 tonight. again, there is where we're seeing that heavy rain and those thunderstorms, but tornado warning listed, tornado watch not yet. here is the snow, the snow sweet spot is right along the i-70, from indianapolis to cleveland to buffalo. that's where we have, a, the blizzard warnings and blizzard warnings mean we're going to see between 6 and 12 plus inches of snow. but it is this. it is the winds. the winds have been so dynamic with this storm, that's what is making travel so perilous. whether it is the winds in newark or laguardia now or just rain slowing things down, or these winds gusting to 30 in chicago, 23 in nashville, gusting to 45 earlier in indianapolis. it is the winds that are making travel so perilous and so dangerous and impacting the roads and the airports. blizzard warnings here from central indiana to ohio. again, that means the snow
coupled with the winds. but look at this, 12 inches, a foot plus of snow possible in western new york. the worst of it tonight until tomorrow in new york state. and then we will begin to see this move out. hefty total of snow. here is the movement as we head toward early tomorrow. you see new york, new york state ensconced in snow. western pennsylvania as well. then by thursday morning, it is still there, and into maine and finally pushes all out. so victor, we're not done with this here. we have another two days, good news all the severe threat coming to an end by tonight and snow still a factor with the winds. >> rough weather on the start of the christmas travel season. rough weather on the back end of it. >> that's right. >> hopefully people make it through. alexandra steele, thank you for that. a lot of people had the families in newtown in their hearts and on their minds over the christmas holiday. there is now a plan to save the thousands of the items honoring the sandy hook school shooting victims. the flowers, the signs, the
teddy bears and the tributes will become part of a sacred memorial. we'll tell you about that. also, i'll talk with a congressman who wants to use the national rifle association against itself on gun reform. if there is a disconnect between nra members and the nra leadership. ♪ ♪ [ male announcer ] everyone deserves the gi of all day pain relief. this season, discover aleve. all day pain relief with just two pills. it's lots of things. all waking up. ♪ becoming part of the global phenomenon
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of the victims who are grieving. 20 children, 7 adults killed on december 14th. the memorials remembering them are here to stay, we have learned. an official announced a special plan by the city to convert the memorial, here is part of what this city official told residents. the thousands of flowers, letters and prayers, the signs and photos, teddy bears and more will be gathered and processed into soil that will serve in the foundation of a future permanent memorial to honor the slain children and adults. officials say it will be a sacred memorial. the items will be collected and converted starting this week. now, new information on that tragic shooting in upstate new york on christmas eve. two firefighters were shot and killed. two others were wounded, after responding to a call that a house was on fire. today we're learning more about the shooter, william spengler. police say the 62-year-old set fire to his sister's house, and then shot the firemen.
police think he also killed his sister, her body was found in the burnt home. spengler left a suicide note. and here's part of it. i still have to get ready to see how much of the neighborhood i can burn down and do what i like doing best, killing people. but why he did it, police say they may never know. >> actually, just to clarify, there was no motive in the note. it did not speak to motive. there was some ramblings in there, there was intelligence information we obtained, investigators need to follow up on, it spoke mainly to intent, he intended to burn his neighborhood down and kill as many people as possible before stopping. i can't emphasize to you that had police officers not responded with that fire truck, standard operating procedure with our agency and many police agencies as we respond with all first responders, police, ems, had that police officer not been there, more people would have
been killed because he immediately engaged the shooter, immediately engaged the shooter with a rifle. but as far as motive, all kinds of speculation, and truthfully we do not know. they're trying to draw a next o ous, i know, between the mother, the fire department, there could be a nexus to 33 years ago when webster police arrested him for murdering his grandmother. >> and spengler had been released on supervised parole in the killing of his grandmother. funerals are being held today for the firefighters killed in the attack. tomas kaczowka and michael chiapperini. two others are hospitalized after surgery. their condition is expected to be upgraded to satisfactory later today. cnn's poppy harlow will have an update for us next hour. nbc's "meet the press" moderator david gregory is being
investigated by washington, d.c. police. cops want to know if he violated d.c. gun laws. the reason is this exchange sunday between gregory and the executive vice president of the national rifle association, wayne lapierre. watch. >> here is a magazine for ammunition that carries 30 bullets. isn't it possible that if we got rid of these, if we replace them and said, you can only have a magazine that carries five bullets or ten bullets, isn't it just possible that we could reduce the carnage in a situation like newtown. >> i don't believe that's going to make one difference. >> police want to know whether the 30-round magazine gregory displayed was real or fake. because possessing a large capacity ammunition device is illegal in the district of columbia, where nbc studios are located. even if it is not attached to the weapon. now, police department spokesperson said nbc asked if it could use the high capacity magazine on air, and it was told no. the network has not responded to
clean water to the less fortunate six years ago, after he met a 14-year-old girl on a trip to zambia. alina cho spoke to him. >> it is very hard for us to understand. you wake up in the morning, if you're thirsty, there is a faucet right there, one in the bathroom, one in the kitchen and clean water comes out of both of them. >> reporter: for some, there is no affordable access to clean water. double that number lacks proper sanitation. >> every 20 seconds, a kid under the age of 5 is dying, losing their life because they do not have access to clean water. it just doesn't have to be that way. >> reporter: so in 2009, damon and world refound in water expert gary white founded water.org. their mantra, wells are great, but charity can't help everyone.
so white pioneered a concept called water credit. >> we knew that women in india, for instance, were going and paying 125% interest on loans to loan sharks so they could build a toilet. we said, let's take microfinance and layer it in here and give people access to affordable loans so they can buy that toilet and get that water connection. >> reporter: depending where you are, that could mean a faucet in your own home, or a toilet with clean running water. water credit is working. white says loans are being repaid at a rate of 98% in places like haiti. what damon and white are trying to eliminate is the need to walk for water, taking time away from work or school. the water's there. >> yeah. all that time that you're wasting going and standing in the line, you now have to go to your job, it is the difference
between hope and looking forward to a better day, and an existence that just basically is about, you know, scavenging for water. >> reporter: how do you get people in the western world where water is plentiful to care? >> we talked about different ways to do that, maybe involving humor. >> reporter: take ben stiller. he gets attention for his foundation stiller strong by producing hilarious videos. >> matt damon, he claimed water. how do you claim water? >> no, no, no. >> reporter: consider this, damon talks about water on youtube, 4,000 hits. this video with sarah silverman. ♪ viral. damon says his strong suit is getting people to care. >> because there is a lot of kind of low hanging fruit, so to speak. there are so many people that we can help. >> reporter: do you see a solution in your lifetime?
>> yes, we do. in fact, that's why we're here. >> ailelina cho, thank you for that. if you want to help or get more information about water.org, go to cnn.com/impact. former president george h.w. bush seems to be getting a little better after spending christmas in a houston hospital. doctors thought the 88-year-old would be able to go home, but he developed a fever. a spokesman tells cnn the former president has slightly improved. he was hospitalized in late november for bronchitis. doctors say they are cautiously optimistic the former president will be released soon. escalating violence in syria as rebels capture a key military base. now, more signs that the regime of bashar al assad is crumbling. a live record from the region after this. [ sniffs ] i have a cold.
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we have this just in from johannsburg bureau in south africa. we're learning that former south african president nelson mandela has been released from the hospital and he will be going home to continue any further treatment to his home in johannsburg. the 94-year-old has been in the hospital for some time back on the 8th of december, he had surgery fo an abdominal hernia, then gall stones removed and has been in the hospital since. but, again, from our bureau in johannesburg, nelson mandela is headed home and will continue treatment at his home in johannesburg. we'll get a live report at the top of the hour. now to syria, in a city just south of aleppo, months of intense fighting has now come to a head.
the rebels are using homemade rockets in their latest push to capture a key military base. it is near the aleppo damascus highway. we're seeing now more signs syrian president bashar al assad's regime is crumbling. in one of the highest level defections yet, the country's military police chief has abandoned his post to join the rebel army. this recording posted online. >> translator: i announce my defection from the regime and i'm joining the people's revolution because the syrian military has strayed from its core mission in protecting the homeland to become nothing but an armed gang that kill and destroy the cities and the villages. carrying out massacres against our innocent civilian population that came out demanding freedom and dignity. >> high level defection there. mohammed jamjoom joins me from beirut. we're hearing reports of how the rebels helped him make his
escape to turkey. >> reporter: that's right, victor. the rebel free syrian army spokesperson we spoke with earlier in the day said it was an arduous journey, took longer than they anticipated. at one point they were transporting the major general by scooter and that it took hours longer than they thought it would, he finally got across the border into turkey. we have been trying to reach the major general. we have not been able to yet. but the rebel free syrian army says this is very significant. this is a morale boost for the rebels there. now, even though this isn't making any difference on the ground in syria right now, and it is a horribly violent day, 60 killed so far, the fact of the matter is if this man who he says he is, and if he's as high rank is as he says he is, co-provide kcohe could provide key intelligence to the rebels and the international community as well. >> soon we'll hit the two-year mark for what has been happening
in syria and over the past several months, city after city, rebels are making huge gains, more high level defections, the latest from this police chief. at what point is this civil war won? >> reporter: it is a good question. this has been a war of attrition. you said, yes, that's right. it has been nearly two years. over 40,000 people killed, seems to get worse day after day, and all in happening at a time when in syria now you have the joint u.n. arab league envoy trying to negotiate some sort of peaceful settlement to the crisis there. it just hasn't happened. it just seems to get worse. you have the rebels saying they're taking one of the key bases in the north of the country on a highway that connects aleppo to damascus and yet still they cannot claim that they have won. it seems that the rebels are gaining momentum. we hear this more from the opposition activist but the government maintains they're ridding the territories across syria of the rebels, of the terrorists as they call them, and it just seems to be
spiraling more and more out of control at a time when there is so much concern about what is going on in syria and so much pressure on the opposition and the syrian government to come to some sort of settlement of their dispute to the people in syria can live in peace once again. >> mohammed jamjoom, thank you for that. fears of the fiscal cliff are taking some of the holiday cheer out of wall street. cnn's alison kosik is watching the post christmas trading. she joins us next.
retailers were hoping shoppers will spend big today. early figures show holiday sales slum slumped to the lowest levels in three years. alison kosik, every time i drive by the mall, the parking lot was full. every time i went in one, there were people everywhere. what is behind the weak sales this year and can post christmas shoppers really turn things around now? >> you make good points, victor. analysts are telling us there are two big factors at work here. hurricane sandy, hit holiday shopping right when it was beginning to rev up in early november. then the worries about the fiscal cliff they took over everybody's pocketbooks. people are really worried their taxes going up. so what do you get? you get holiday sales not doing
too hot. holiday sales are up a little less than 1%, winds up being the weakest growth in three years. it is still early. these numbers are still rolling in. but, you know what, they're not a good sign. after christmas spending, it could help a little bit, but because of limited -- but because of limited -- there could be limited returns in the christmas shopping because a lot of people get gift cards and they do their returns. what retailers were hoping for is when people get into the stores do the returns and to shop for gift cards, maybe people will spend a little more on their gift card and maybe exchange instead of just returns. >> we got the sad trombone for the holiday shopping results. combine that with the fiscal cliff fears, we're six days away, how is wall street reacting? >> reporter: wall street is pretty quiet today. there is low volume again, which means not a lot of investors are in the game today. that's because partly because of the fiscal cliff and partly because people are on vacation. and expect that to be the case for the rest of the week. this is usually a time of year when we can get santa claus
rally. investors like to put the icing on the cake and push stocks up anywhere from 1% to 2% on average. in deal on the fiscal cliff. that's spoiling the rally so far. it could be worse. we have seen much bigger negative reaction to all these congressional shenanigans in the past. could be a sign the economy is in better shape this time around. you just look at the s&p 500, victor, still on track for a 13% gain for the year. that's as we look at all the red on the screen. victor? >> a lot of red there is. red and green. wish we had more green. alison kosik, thank you. if you weren't able to watch your favorite christmas classic on netflix, we know why. the video streaming service is blaming a massive outage at one of amazon's web service centers. they say it happened on christmas eve. now, netflix has millions of subscribers in the u.s., canada, latin america, most folks have service up and running again by christmas day, though. if they missed it going into
christmas, they can watch it in the evening. one netflix official says they're looking at how to prevent something like this from happening again. russia is trying to put the brakes on americans adopting russian children. and today that ban is one step closer to becoming law. d details are next. it's lots of things. all waking up. ♪ becoming part of the global phenomenon we call the internet of everything. ♪ trees will talk to networks will talk to scientists about climate change. cars will talk to road sensors will talk to stoplights about traffic efficiency. the ambulance will talk to patient records will talk to doctors about saving lives. it's going to be amazing. and exciting. and maybe, most remarkably, not that far away.
the next big thing? we're going to wake the world up. ♪ and watch, with eyes wide, as it gets to work. ♪ cisco. tomorrow starts here. starts with arthritis pain and a choice. take tylenol or take aleve, the #1 recommended pain reliever by orthopedic doctors. just two aleve can keep pain away all day. back to the news.
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putting into effect the country's new constitution. voters approved the islamist backed constitution but it was bitterly contested. and left the country polarized. critics say the document was thrown together and does not include the voices of other minorities. now morsi is expected to give up the sweeping powers that he gave himself. u.s. officials stress there is a need for more consensus and it is time for morsi to make compromises. it is being called the first insider attack in afghanistan by a woman. a nato contractor was shot dead by an afghan policewoman on christmas eve. the shooter was arrested and we have more details about her identity. let's get that from barbara starr at the pentagon. hey, barbara. what are we learning about this woman and this attack? >> reporter: well, victor, all we know so far really is what the afghans are saying. there was a press conference with senior afghan ministry spokesman and he held up a very
interesting passport, he says the passport of this woman and it is iranian, that she is an iranian citizen who came to afghanistan and married an afghan man. he also said she had some fake identity documents, but this is certainly raising the prospect that the shooter was iranian. so far, however, no indication yet she's tied to the taliban, that she is officially tied to iran at this point, or to any terrorist groups. by all accounts she came to kabul, police headquarters had a weapon hidden under her clothing, removed it, said she was looking for someone to shoot and walked out behind this u.s. contractor. he's now been identified as 49-year-old joseph griffin of mansfield, georgia, working for dime corp. international, a major u.s. firm working in afghanistan to help train those afghan police. >> barbara, this is notable because it is the first woman who made this inside attack.
are we seeing a trend as it relates to this type of attack, more of them, less of them frequently? >> well, you know, throughout this year it is really been on the upswing at various points. we haven't had anything in a few weeks. now this tragedy, for an american family. but it has pretty much been a problem throughout the year with u.s. coalition and it should be said afghan officials, afghan troops also getting killed. intill trait infiltrat infiltrators, taliban officials, it has been the whole gamut of things. the nato alliance has been trying to work the problem and provide more protection for troops. they believe some of their efforts are working, but in this case it did not. victimer? >> barbara starr at the pentagon for us, thank you. hundreds of american couples trying to adopt children from russia are being -- bracing for bad news. a law banning americans from
adopting in russia has been approved by russia's upper house of parliament. and now all that is needed is president vladimir putin's signature and that's expected to happen. russia has long been one of the top countries for u.s. adoptions. the move is seen as payback for recently signed u.s. law which puts financial restrictions on russians accused of human rights violations and bans them from traveling to the u.s. from one of the hottest and driest summers you remember it, to superstorm sandy. >> scary. so scary. it reminds you of the wizard of oz when the tornado hit and everything is going around and around. >> heat waves, wildfires, tornadoes. the top ten weather events 2 s 2012 right after this. always right there in real-time. it's like the ultimate personal assistant. but i'm me, and me needs handlers. so i hired todd to handle it for me. todd, gimme that hollywood news! what's happening on twitter?
we are monitoring severe weather from the midwest to east coast. it is delaying travelers in several states now. it is a live picture as one of our crews is now driving down the pennsylvania turnpike. this is near bedford in the southern part of the state. to be sure, just so you know, no one is driving and shooting. this is a steady camera in the car. and this is indiana. live pictures from indianapolis, in fact. our meteorologist says the winter storm is headed to the carolinas and on up the northeast region. we always have cases of wild
weather, but 2012 really brought weather we hoped we would never see again. chad myers counts down the top ten weather disasters of the year gone by. >> number ten, april 15th. >> tonight, millions of people throughout the midwest are batting down. >> in a second, the whole house was gone. we were looking up at blue sky. >> 75 tornadoes ripped through the midwest causing nearly $300 million in damage. number nine, tropical storm debby. >> tropical storm debby, this is what happens when you get hammered by as much as two feet of rain. >> the storm never developed into a hurricane, but it did leave up to 28 inches of rain in northern florida. number eight, summer heat wave. sweltering heat baked the nation this summer. march and july set u.s. records as the hottest of all time. number seven, western wildfires. >> smoke in the air. >> the heat wave helped fuel a
string of wildfires that hit the west. number six, the deratio in june. >> it began in iowa, moved through illinois, indiana, ohio and moved into washington, d.c. it took a fast moving long lasting violent thunderstorm complex. >> after charging 800 miles, 22 were dead and 5 million were without power. number five, the dallas 22. there is an old myth that tornadoes don't hit big cities. april 3rd proved otherwise when twisters hit dallas. >> scary. it was so scary. it reminds you of the wizard of oz when the tornado hit and everything just going around and around. >> 22 tornadoes caused a billion dollars worth of damage in 24 hours. number four, deadliest tornado. tornadoes took up three spots in our top ten countdown, but this event was the deadliest. march 2nd and 3rd, 70 confirmed
tornadoes killed 40 people in the midwest. number three, hurricane isaac. hurricane isaac descended on louisiana tuesday night, nearly seven years to the day that hurricane katrina struck. isaac wasn't such a monster, but it was still a killer. the country held its collective breath as the the levees were tested yet again. in the end, the new levees saved new orleans, but plaquemines parish was devastated by flooding. number two, the drought that rivalled the dust bowl. >> all of those big rivers, all very dry this year. >> by september, 66% of the u.s. was in some degree of drought. the dry weather is expected to continue into 2013 and this could become the costliest natural disaster in u.s. history. and number one, superstorm sandy. >> historic superstorm made landfall over the most populated areas of the united states. wind damage, power outages, storm surges, inland flooding,
even snowstorms are threatening the lives and homes of people from virginia to massachusetts. >> i've never seen devastation like this in my life. >> the surf getting much, much more violent. >> curfew is under way right now. you are not to be on the streets. >> they're keeping an eye on the possibility of flooding. >> superstorm sandy crippled the nation's biggest transit system. >> talking about flooding, possible power outages, that could last for days. >> from the city to the country side, people just need to be self-aware. >> the storm killed at least 113 people in the u.s., and caused tens of billions of dollars in damage. total repairs will take decades. chad myers, cnn. be sure to join our don lemon for the biggest stories of the year in crime and politics, money, even the most scandalous. the top ten of 2012 will air sunday night 8:00 eastern. house democrat says there is a disconnect between the national rifle association and its members. and he plans to use that
so-called disconnect in pushing gun reform. he joins me after the break. time for citi price rewind. because your daughter really wants that pink castle thing. and you really don't want to pay more than you have to. only citi price rewind automatically searches for the lowest price. and if it finds one, you get refunded the difference. just use your citi card and register your purchase online. have a super sparkly day! ok. [ male announcer ] now all you need is a magic carriage. citi price rewind. start saving at citi.com/pricerewind. stop! stop! stop! come back here! humans -- we are beautifully imperfect creatures living in an imperfect world. that's why liberty mutual insurance has your back with great ideas like our optional better car replacement. if your car is totaled, we give you the money to buy one a model year newer. call... and ask one of our insurance experts about it today.
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in los angeles, the annual gun buyback program begins today. the no questions asked event was moved up several months because of the newtown school massacre. earlier on cnn, l.a. mayor antonio villaraigosa responded to critics who questioned the effectiveness of gun buyback programs. >> well, there are experts say
we should have an assault weapons ban, we shouldn't -- that we should continue this amendment that prohibits us from doing what we should do to enforce our gun laws. those same experts pooh-pooh virtually everything we try to do and this is a great opportunity for people to get involved themselves and not wait on washington. i'm supporting senator feinstein's assault weapons ban. we have one in california. you can buy guns, assault weapons in arizona and bring them here. you'll get arrested, but they do that as well. we need to toughen our laws with our gun shows. 40% of all the guns that are purchased don't require a background check because they're purchased from private sellers. there are a number of things we can do this is just one of them, not the only thing, we got to also address the culture of violence we have in this country. too many people think it is just
okay to shoot people and the way you see too often in this country. for those of us who got to watch the nra commercial last week, the notion that more guns in the hands of good people will prevent gun crimes just isn't born out by the facts. this is an opportunity for people to get rid of guns they just don't need. >> l.a. mayor antonio villaraigosa. a live update from l.a. in a few minutes. let's stay on the subject of guns and what to do about them. congressman jim moran says there is a disconnect between the national rifle association's leadership and the nra members. the democrat from virginia is pushing a package of gun reforms he says most nra members support. and representative moran joins me now live from washington. good to have you with us. >> good to be with you, thank you. >> congressman, when many politicians think about the nra, they think about this legion of
people who stand shoulder to shoulder with wayne lapierre and the leadership and what he says they believe. you believe, though, that the nra leadership is out of touch with the membership. why? >> well, this bill that we're introducing on the first session of the next congress has five measures where two-thirds of nra membership support them. in fact, in some cases one of them is supported by 79% of the nra members. so i do think there is a disconnect between the nra members and the gun manufacturers who basically pay the salaries of the nra leadership. but what this would do is to require background checks, not only for gun purchaser, purch e purchas purchasers, but for gun shop employees. it would require people that are on the terrorist watch list not be able to buy firearms or explosives. the gao did a study that showed
1,321 people are on the terrorist watch list attempted to buy firearms and explosives. and 91% of the cases the fbi was powerless to stop them. it would also require that if you're going to get a concealed carry permit, that you have certain minimum requirements like age and some training lessons. and in addition, it would say that you have to report within 48 hours if your gun is lost or stolen. 600,000 guns are stolen from private homes every year. so this is basically the lowest hanging fruit. it is really ripe for legislative passage and i would hope it might get some traction. >> you picked the five because there is a poll over the summer by a gop pollster that says these are not only things that are mildly supported by nra members, but they are in the 60, 70, 80 percentile of support
from the membership. >> that's exactly right. these are common sense gun safety measures. i think it would give some greater credibility to the nra to support what the vast majority of its membership is willing to do. i don't expect them to, but i would hope we get some bipartisan support for this common sense measure. it is not going to solve the problem. it is not going to put an end to the mayhem and massacres, but it will be progress. and we're going to do what we can up here on the hill, who believe that, you know, young innocent children shouldn't be slaughtered because we have failed to do our job. it really does seem we're at the point if the congress fails to do anything, particularly in response to the sandy hook elementary school massacre, that we are complicit in further massacres of innocent people
because we haven't made sufficient effort to even do what the majority of nra members would be willing to do. >> let me jump in here. though you're pulling here that you got from the gop pollster says one thing that nra members will support, the leadership when it comes to 2014 and the primaries they will be the ones who will drop the hammer if there are people who vote in support of it. if there are republicans who vote against what the nra says that should or should not happen, right? so the leadership will be the ones that divvy up the money to attack some of the republicans in congress, right? isn't that the important part of the conversation? >> i do think that that's been the problem, certainly up until now. it has been the political intimidation that they really will go after you if you cross the nra leadership. also the majority of the people
that -- who are in the majority and the congress, 51% of them, get money from the nra, but i think the main leverage that they have is this political intimidation. but somehow we have to stand up to it. what's the point of saving your political career if it means the loss of such innocent lives as were -- as were massacred at sandy hook and will continue to be if we don't take action. i mean, there has got to be a line where we're willing to draw it, and we have to ask ourselves is our political career of greater value than the lives of those young children. >> congressman jim moran, democrat of virginia, thank you for speaking with us this afternoon. >> sure. 3:00 on the east coast. it is noon on the west coast. i'm victor blackwell in for brooke baldwin. we have a lot to get to this hour including the vicious storms that slammed the south.
that's not all. part of the northeast could be next. and police say he was ready for war. you'll hear part of the note that this killer left before he shot four firefighters in new york state. first, this just in to cnn. former south african president nelson mandela has been released from the hospital. he was being treated for lung infection. and doctors say he'll continue his treatment at home. let as go straight to johannesburg. robin corneau is with us now with more on mandela's health. what are we learning about, i guess, the level of improvement that would allow mr. mandela to go home. >> absolutely. thanks, victor. sigh of relief against the whole of south africa. mandela was rushed to hospital 19 days ago. obviously his doctors feeling comfortable enough with his health that he can go home. like you said, he's been said to be suffering from a lung infection and then he had surgery for gallstones. but sending him home, not out of
the woods yet. we know his home here in johannesburg, there are high care medical facilities that he'll continue to receive around the clock medical attention. so he's being very, very closely monitored. and for a man who is 94 years old, no doubt a remarkable recovery and indication of just how strong, just what kind of fighter nelson mandela is. >> robin, at the top you mentioned the relief of people in south africa. he really is beloved in that country. how do south africans view the man they call mandiva? >> he is seen as the father of democracy here. there is a deep emotional attachment to nelson mandela. he's been out of the public eye, hasn't been in the public scene for more than two years. so people haven't seen him a lot. but there is a deep sense he's very much the architect of south africa's democracy. so people are very concerned about his health. but like we said, he's 94 years
ole. there is also a deep sense of pragmatism that he's old, he's frail, and that one day there will be a south africa without nelson mandela. there have been a lot of prayers this christmas as people have wished him well. but in the same sense, south africans are not hysterical, not panicked, haven't been huge scenes of people leaving flowers outside hospitals or anything like that. just a quiet thankfulness, perhaps, that he's still with us. >> and outside of south africa, as well. robin corneau, thank you very much for that. let's get to another big story that is happen and will continue to go on the next days and weeks. the gun debate, the gun reform debate. cities from camden, new jersey, san diego, las vegas, they're taking what they feel is concrete action, buying guns back from citizens. in l.a., the annual gun buyback program was moved up a few months because of the recent tragedy in newtown, connecticut. it is being held today.
and antonio villaraigosa say it is a way for people to show their support for gun reform. >> they want to act. they're tired of waiting on the congress and legislatures to do something. they feel like there is too much talk and not enough action. and this is an opportunity for people to act, to get rid of guns if they don't use, that they don't need, that too often are stolen. >> paul vercammen joins us now from los angeles. paul, what has been the response to this buyback so far today? >> reporter: it has been absolutely overwhelming, victor n fac . in fact, i think it surprised officials here. we're not going to zoom in because we don't want to reveal the identity of undercover agents or the people turning in the guns. but basically as they drive in behind me, i can tell you there is about 40 cars still in line, they drop off the guns, they do not have to reveal their
identity. no photographs are taken. no paperwork involved. and so far at this van nuys location alone in the san fernando valley, they have taken in 420 guns. we understand about that many guns have also been taken in in downtown los angeles. so- so far so good as far as th city of los angeles is concerned. among the guns taken in, we have noted three dozen assault weapons, victor. >> so three dozen assault weapons. if you can, and maybe it is too early to know this, put that into perspective for us, three dozen, four dozen, give us an idea of broader perspective of how many guns they're collecting, the types of guns overall they're collecting. >> reporter: well, the critics would say you need to get more assault weapons, but every time they grab an assault weapon, an undercover agent picks it up and says this is one less on the street. they feel like they're making a
real dent. and everything. we saw an antique british paratrooper gun. we have seen all sorts of rifles, handguns, many different things. we talked to people about why they're turning in the guns. it is not just crime. there was a grandmother who told us she wanted to keep the gun out of the hands of the grandkids. >> i hid it away, but i always have in the back of my mind, his will be his, and i don't want there to be a problem with them finding it. >> -- young adults, all ages that are in shock for no reason. and it is beautiful. can't ask for more. i hope they do this a little bit more. >> reporter: that gentleman is a bodyguard, one of the paid bodyguards for entertainers. he traded in two rifles and told us he wants to see a lot more of this in the future, a wide variety of guns being taken in right now, victor.
>> i'm sure law enforcement there, they're happy to see all the guns come off the street, the guns that have come in. but the major criticism of the buybacks, wherever they happen, l.a., chicago, any other city, is that you have law abiding citizens turning in guns that have been watched and cared for or you have parashooters weapons that typically aren't the ones involved in crimes, that the police will see again. >> that's true. as i said before, there are some who would say this is just a drop in the bucket. however, when you're here and you see the police pulling in some of the assault weapons, they're very happy to have that. and now over the course of let's say four years, by the time they get done today that will be 10,000 guns collected by the lapd under this program. and they would argue that 10,000 guns does indeed have a ripple effect and, in fact, violent crime dove tailing in the same period over four years is down 33% in los angeles.
so they feel like this is a big victory and a good start to this. they would like to see other parts of the country join in with the buyback programs. >> paul vercammen in los angeles for us. thank you, paul. this was prompted and moved up a few months because of the tragedy in newtown. so let's go to newtown. you've seen these pictures. the teddy bears, candles, pictures, displayed everywhere in remembrance of the victims who lost their lives in the shooting massacre at sandy hook elementary. well, the community united during the holiday to support the families of the victims of those who are grieving. 20 children, 7 adults were killed december 14th. the memorials remembering them are here to stay. an official announced a special plan by the city to convert the memorial saying, quote, the thousands of flowers and letters, prayers, signs, photos, teddy bears and more will be gathered and processed into soil that will serve in the foundation of a future permanent
memorial to honor the slain children and adults. the official says it will be a sacred memorial. the items will be collected and converted starting this week. have you ever wondered who the gun owners in your area are? who has a gun on your block, where they live? well, some residents in new york state are not wondering anymore. and six days and counting until we hit the fiscal cliff. the president is cutting short his hawaiian vacation to go back to work. we'll look at whether a deal is likely to get done. and not what people in alabama wanted for christmas. tornadoes ripped through the south. >> i prayed to god as loud as i could and i was just praying for my safety. and i knew that -- i prayed that the church stayed put. rsal] ♪ everybody well don't you know it's me now? ♪ ♪ yeah who's it, who's it huh? ♪
we told you last hour president obama is spending his last few hours in hawaii before returng early to washington. he's expected to arrive tomorrow, just five days ahead of the fiscal cliff, which includes an across the board tax hike that congress has tried but failed to undo. cnn's dana bash is with us from washington, our senior congressional correspondent. we spoke last hour. you told us that hour speaker john boehner was to convene this conference call to decide whether or not to call the house back into session. we know the senate is supposed to convene, but nothing can, of course, take place until the house is in session as well. do we know the results of that conference call? will boehner reconvene the house? >> reporter: i'm told by a source familiar with the call,
which just happened within last hour, as you said, that no decision was made on the schedule or timing for the house. as we talked about an hour ago, the leaders in the house have promised the members that they won't be called back without 48 hours notice. so at this point it is wednesday afternoon, they won't even be back, the earliest, until a saturday, if they haven't made a decision today. but, of course, it is true, basic civics tells us all this, that nothing can get done until the house and senate pass it. however, the action, which is really focused on the house up until now, will be and is now more on the senate. the senate democratic leader harry reid is the one trying to figure out if he can get the votes from enough republicans to pass the kind of scaled back bill that the president himself talked about on friday before he went to hawaii, which is effectively his plan to keep taxes in place, tax cuts in place, i should say, for every household making $250,000 and
under and maybe add a few other tax related items, nothing on spending, but tax related items to that, the hope among democrats is that because we are so close to that deadline, that they can get enough republicans in the senate and the house ultimately to pass that, but, you know, the betting, according to sources in the republican and democratic party is still at this point that it is not going to be likely and we're most likely to go off the fiscal cliff. >> six days away. dana, what would majority leader reid have to add to the legislation to peel off just a few republicans, enough to get it through the house? i don't know if he would get widespread support from mitch mcconnell and the leadership, but just a few who are maybe retiring, or leaving the senate. >> reporter: that's a great question. first and foremost they would have to be able to swallow the idea that they will effectively vote to raise taxes on the top 2% of americans which most
republicans said they do not want to do because they think it is bad for the economy. to answer your question, it is probably the biggest sweetener for republicans and seen some moderate democrats by the way is the estate tax. the estate tax is in place right now at a relatively low threshold. it would go up big time at the end of the year. and that is something that is very important to a lot of republicans. that could be a sweetener. i think probably the best argument the democrats have for some of those republicans is that they don't want to be in the way or they don't want to be responsible in any way for every american's taxes going up, including most importantly the people who really, really need that money, people who just aren't the wealthiest in this country. >> dana bash, six days away, we'll see what happens once the president is back in washington. thank you. starbucks is taking a political stand to urge lawmakers to come together. this thursday and friday, baristas in the d.c. area are being encouraged to scribble
come together on all paper cups. starbucks chief executive howard schultz wrote to employees saying customers and workers, quote, have a responsibility to send our elected officials a respectful but potent message. there are about 120 starbucks stores in the d.c. area, really they're all over the place in d.c. retailers were hoping shoppers will spend big today because early figures show holiday sales slumped to the lowest levels in three years. analysts are blaming hurricane sandy which hit just before the peak shopping season. folks are also a little more cautious about opening their wallets, concerned about tax hikes as we near this so-called fiscal cliff. first, a tornado. now a blizzard warning. we'll break down the complex weather forecast next as part of the south starts to clean up after yesterday's storms. >> it is a wonderful school. i don't know what we're going to do with the kids when it is time to come back.
this is a dangerous situation with all the roofs off, and the windows blown out. this is just devastating. can tow up to 9,600 pounds? 315 horsepower. what's that in reindeer-power? [ laughs ] [ pencil scratches ] [ male announcer ] chevy's giving more. get the best offer of the year -- 0% apr financing for 60 months plus $1,000 holiday bonus cash. plus trade up for an additional $1,000 trade-in allowance. hurry. bonus cash ends january 2nd.
if you're not dealing with weather issues now, count yourself as one of the lucky people in the country. this is indianapolis. you can see icy, snowy roads, fortunately not many people on them right now. but they have been dealing with some serious weather there. this is detroit. foggy, snow there, ice as well. it has been a difficult travel season for everyone moving through the midwest and now the east coast is having some troubles as well. the snowstorms, possible tornadoes, this is what the people in the east are now
bracing for. severe winter storm is causing slight delays for lots of holiday travelers. listen to this guy in minnesota. he's been stuck waiting to go to new york. >> the sooner i can get in, the happier i'll be. >> the worst case is that my partners here in minneapolis are going to have to buy me dinner and put me up for the night. >> start making reservations because it is a bad time to go to new york. this is in the south. 30 tornadoes, 30 reports of tornadoes, spun out of a system last night. it damaged at least 125 homes and businesses across alabama and across other parts of the south overnight. some 200,000 people are without power in several states. and three people died in texas, oklahoma, and arkansas. here is elizabeth cordon with more. >> reporter: the sound of jingle bells now replaced by the scraping of plows on pavement. tires trudging through snow, and
whipping winds. blizzard and winter storm warnings are posted for a wide swath of the united states. >> right along the rain and snow line, that's where the front is, and just to the north of that, that's usually where the axis of the heaviest snow will be, the snow sweet spot. we're going to see that from cincinnati, north of that through indianapolis, cleveland and into buffalo. >> reporter: all part of the deadly system that erupted christmas day, temporarily shutting down the highway in oklahoma, destroying property in texas and breaking the holiday snowfall record in arkansas. the system spawned multiple tornadoes including this one in alabama. >> oh, my god. look. that's a tornado. oh, wow. oh, jesus. look at that tornado. >> reporter: with daylight wednesday came the reality of just how much damage was done. at this mobile high school, portable classrooms are in ruins, win dows are missing and roof tiles are shattered. one of the many structural
casualties of this massive storm. >> judging from some of the damage we witnessed today, it is a miracle that no one was hurt any worse than they were. >> reporter: post holiday travel plans are also taking a beating. roads are a mess. many airports no better, meaning people could be spending longer than expected at their holiday destinations. elizabeth cordon, cnn, atlanta. want to bring in alexandra steele back into this. this is just a mess. and at the wrong time. people are struggling, going to and leaving the holiday destinations. >> we got it at the beginning and the end. should i tell you about the new year's eve storm? we'll wait for that for a couple of days. good evening once again. and no matter where you are, you are dealing with air delays. the bigge esgest culprit is win. new york laguardia, new york, an hour and 15 minutes. philadelphia, almost four hour
delays. and mostly, especially the big cities, new york, newark, philadelphia, it is a wind factor, gusting to about 28 to 38 miles per hour. so this is just the beginning. here in the northeast, really tonight and tomorrow, with the snow in upstate new york, and interior areas and the wind and rain along the coast, that's where the problems will be. flights have been preemptively delayed and canceled tomorrow in upstate new york because of the snow that is incoming. so biggest problems, of course, we had yesterday, the worst tornadic outbreak on christmas that we have ever had in recorded history. today, things are getting better. it is all moving to the east, finally this is like getting out of the eastern corridor. this is the outer banks of north carolina. tornado watch posted here until 5:00 tonight. that means atmospherically conditions are favorable for tornadoes to develop. we do have a tornado warning posted in eastern north carolina for a couple of more minutes. storms moving east at 60 miles per hour. there is the snowy side to boot.
and here is that snowy spot. and here is the snow sweet spot, more or less. just north from cincinnati to indianapolis to cleveland, here is a look at the winds. indy now gusting to 31. chicago to 30 as well. so it is the winds coupled with all the snow creating all this havoc and will only begin to. blizzard warnings in effect for indiana and ohio until 7:00 tonight. that's because the snow that is coming down between 6 and 12 inches. the ferocious winds, 30, 40 miles per hour. but in north carolina, we had gusts of 70 from the severe weather that is pushing eastward. so as a composite, it is really impactful for tens of millions. >> typically this is where i say thank you. but that's all bad news. >> all bad news. only gets better. we'll have a lull in the action until new year's eve and new year's day storm. >> thank you for the love. a former president, george h.w. bush, is still in the hospital a day after christmas. doctors thought that the 88-year-old former president would be able to go home for the
holidays, but he developed a fever. mr. bush was hospitalized in late november for bronchitis and spokesperson jim mcgrath says his condition has slightly improved and added he has a great attitude. >> he's the most relentlessly positive person. he said, i'm determined not to be grumpy about all this, which is tough for him, because ease used to not sitting in one place for too long. s' a man of action, always has been throughout his life. it is difficult, but then again, he understand he's there for a reason and appreciates the great care he's getting at methodist. >> the former president ate a christmas dinner of take-out chinese with the -- his wife barbara and other family members there at the hospital. as many as 100 million taxpayers, that means one of them could be you, could be delayed from filing returns unless congress acts quickly to fix the amt. that's the alternative minimum tax. also the wealth tax.
conceived to prevent the wealthy from paying no taxes at all through deductions. congress has failed to pass an a adjustment to keep the amt from roping in lower taxpayers. irs was expecting that to happen. if congress fails to do so, revenue officials will start a lengthy and costly process of reprogramming computers. it could be march until effective taxpayers can file. an interactive map is causing outrage in one community. what do all these little red dots mean? what do they locate? and why is a new newspaper under fire? we'll explain. year-end event. so, the 5.3-liter v8 silverado can tow up to 9,600 pounds? 315 horsepower. what's that in reindeer-power? [ laughs ] [ pencil scratches ] [ male announcer ] chevy's giving more. get the best offer of the year -- 0% apr financing for 60 months plus $1,000 holiday bonus cash.
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sta talk about reader feedback. a backlash by publishing an interactive map showing where people live with gun licenses. josh levs is here to tell us more about this. and the reaction from the journal news release. >> amazing. >> i've been reading some of the comments online. and some people are upset about this. >> a lot of people are upset about this. let's start telling everybody what they're upset about. in the journal news, in new york, talking about westchester and rockland counties. what they decided to do at their website is to map in this area one county, this shows where gun permit holders live. i'm not going to click on it right now. if you click on one, it gives you a name and an address where gun permit holders live. and there is another one they do as well for another county, it is blue, this shows, according to them, this is in rockland county, permit holders who have purchased a firearm or updated
their permit in the last five years. a lot of people see this and say what are you doing, announcing everyone who has one? let me show you a sampling of some of the responses on their website. this is crazy. i hope you lose readers. a valuable piece of information for criminals, totally out of line. other people complaining, hey, wait a second, what are you trying to do here, trying to tell burglars where there are and are not guns. a statement from the publisher, just sent this along to cnn, we have it for you here, one of our roles is to report publicly available information on timely issues, even when unpopular. we knew publication of the database, as well as the accompanying article providing context, would be controversial, but we felt sharing information about gun permits in our area was important in the aftermath of the newtown shootings. one more thing, fascinating here, they're telling us that they want to publish even more information. they were disappointed they couldn't get more. one more statement here, because this really thickens the plot a
little bit for what people are talking about. this says they were surprised when we weren't able to obtain information on what kinds and how many weapons people in our market own. have we been able to obtain those records, we would have published them. they're doubling down, saying we want to publish more. >> i saw this, first time, this reminded me of the sex offender registry. that's what a lot of comments online that it looks as if they are comparing this or mapping this, much like people would, who are sex offenders. >> that visual of it is what is bothering people a lot. i can't tell you how many times i stood in front of this screen, pointing to a map like this, but usually around halloween with sex offenders or where crimes are in your area. you don't often see a neutral map like this, some people are concerned about the visual, others are concerned about sharing the information and what it says. i will tell you, we have been searching for anyone who might have a positive take on this, who was a gun control --
searching for a gun control group earlier. he didn't support it either. we have been reaching out, there is an organization called the pointer institute that looks at journalism, they're not happy with it. we're looking for anybody, i got this tweet, i want to share, from someone that wrote me, please thank them for me, this could be a turning point. i do not want my daughter playing in a house with guns. here and there, amid the thousands of angry people you can find some voices that do support this, it is important to mention. >> one, though, so far in the search. >> i found one on cnn.com, one or two out of thousands and thousands. not easy to find them. >> how often does this happen? is this unprecedented where a newspaper published a map of who has a weapon? >> it is not unprecedented. that's another thing important here. if you read our story, we link you to some of this. now we're in this area of social media. an era of social media. something hits the web, everybody can share it everywhere and the map, like the one we're talking about, really interesting to a lost people and
suddenly it can get a lot of attention. this has spread like wildfire and gotten attention in a way that no other similar publishing of information has ever gotten in the past. also will tell you, there is a couple of examples in the past where people published that information, the newspapers retracted it or not said it was wrong, but decided to pull it from the web. >> doesn't look like it has been happening because they have written follow-ups to this map in the past few days. >> absolutely. this show, your audience now, very active on social media. tell us what you think. josh levs cnn. let us know what you think. >> josh, thank you very much. sniper ambushes volunteer firefighters in upstate new york. police say the suspect was equipped to go to war. the case gets stranger. details after the break. stop! stop! stop! come back here! humans -- we are beautifully imperfect creatures living in an imperfect world. that's why liberty mutual insurance has your back with great ideas like our optional better car replacement.
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new details about the new york man who set fire to his home and attacked those who responded. a disturbing letter left behind by the gunman who shot and killed two of the volunteer firefighters and wounded two others. william spengler wrote that he likes doing best -- what he likes doing best is killing people. poppy harlow in new york with the latest. the story alone is disturbing enough. you add the glee in the letter, it makes it that much worse. >> reporter: it is unbelievable, especially in the wake of what
happened in newtown, connecticut, to have another shooting like this on christmas eve. that's when it happened in the early morning hours of monday. and it has been developing since then, as you mentioned. firefighters were responding to the typical house fire, four of them, four of them were shot, two were killed, two were pretty seriously injured and what police are saying is it appears to really be a setup, an ambush to shoot these first responders. i'll tell you about william spengler, the shooter. he is dead now from a self-inflicted gun wound to the head. he's 62 years old. he was convicted of killing his grandmother back in 1980, in prison until 1998 on parole until 2006. and then this happened. and as you said, he left a letter that police found and i want you to listen to the police chief because he read a portion of that letter that is incredibly disturbing. >> i will read to you one of the
sentences out of the two page -- two or three page typewritten note that really clearly goes to his intent, while the note does not go to motive. quote, i still have to get ready to see how much of the neighborhood i can burn down, and do what i like doing best, killing people. end quote. >> unbelievable. three guns were found on the shooter. a revolver, a shotgun and a semi-automatic bushmaster 223 caliber rifle. again, no motive clear in that note. police are trying to figure out what could have sparked this. the police chief did say in the press conference yesterday he believes some sort of mental illness may have been behind this. i can tell you the latest development, victor, is that they believe they found the remains of spengler's sister, sheryl spengler, in the home, that was burned down, that he set fire to.
again, the police chief saying, look, this person was, quote, equipped to go to war and kill innocent people. >> people who hear the bushmaster 223, if you recognize that, you don't know where you heard it before, it is the same gun used at sandy hook to kill those 20 children and seven adults, six teachers, and nancy lanza. before you go, poppy, what about the two firefighters who survived? what can you tell us about them? >> reporter: we have an update from the hospital. the two firefighters, joseph hofstetter, very young firefighter, and also theodore scardino, they are being treated still in intensive care at the local hospital. their condition is guarded. so they're still watching them closely. but as of yesterday, they were able to breathe on their own and to speak and they were alert. we're hoping for the best for them. for our viewers, i want to show them the images of the two firefighters that were killed. those two firefighters, lieutenant michael chiapperini, you see him there, and also tom
kaczowka. chiapperini was in the police department also in this community. both of these men, very important part of the community. theyremembered with vigils held yesterday, saluted by their firefighters and police officers and a candle lit vigil as well was held for them. we'll remember them. and this is all too soon after that shooting and tragedy in newtown that another shooting happened, especially on christmas eve. victor. >> far too frequent. poppy harlow in new york. thank you for that. children in need in russia and now well meaning american families will not be able to help them. we'll look at why russia will no longer allow americans to adopt its children. ♪ if loving you is wrong
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with odor free aspercreme. powerful medicine relieves pain fast, with no odor. so all you notice is relief. aspercreme. a suicide car bomber struck outside a u.s. base in eastern afghanistan today and killed three afghan civilians. the explosion happened near a gate after a mini bus stopped for a security check. a security guard and two officers were killed. six civilians were injured. the taliban claimed responsibility for this attack. in syria, a city south of aleppo, the rebels are using homemade rockets in their latest push to capture a key military base and steer the aleppo damascus highway.
those are the homemade rockets. we're seeing more signs syrian president bashar al assad's regime is crumbling. in one of the highest level defections yet, the country's military police chief has reportedly abandoned his post to join the rebel army. earlier i spoke with mohammed jamjoom and asked him when this civil war will end. >> you know, this has been a war of attrition. you said, yes, that's right, it has been nearly two years. over 40,000 people killed, seems to get worse day after day. and all this happening at a time when in syria now you have the joint u.n. arab league envoy, lack barba lakhdar brahimi there. you have the rebels saying they're taking one of the key bases in the north of the country, on a highway that connects aleppo to damascus and yet still they cannot claim that they have won. it seems that the rebels are gaining momentum. we hear this more from the opposition activists, from the
rebel free syrian army, but the government maintains they're ridding the territories across syria of the rebels, of the terrorists as they call them. and it just seems to be spiraling more and more out of control at a time when there is so much concern about what is going on in syria and so much pressure on the opposition and the syrian government to come to some sort of settlement of their disputes so the people of syria can live in peace once again. >> it is crushing news for hundreds of american couples trying to adopt children from russia. a law banning the practice has been approved by russia's upper house of parliament and now it is just waiting for president putin's signature. russia claims the ban is over concern for the welfare of some of russia's children who died in the homes of their adopted american families. >> translator: i believe we must have a clear idea about what is happening to our children, to our citizens after they have been adopted, in regards to the u.s., we just don't know. >> but many see the move as payback for recently signed u.s.
law which restricts russians accused of human rights violations from entering the u.s. fireworks sparked a huge fire today in the nigerian city of lagos. the fire quickly spread into this densely populated area. officials say the fire started in a warehouse that did not have permission to store fireworks. some of those injured were trampled in the rush to get away from the flames. in china, the world's longest highway -- high speed railway is set to open. it connects beijing with go gongzou. it slashes travel time from 22 hours to just eight. but the tickets starting at $138 are still a little steep for some and many travelers say it is still cheaper and faster to fly. so we asked you to pick the
most intriguing people of 2012. who is number one? we'll show you along with the rest. time for citi price rewind. because your daughter really wants that pink castle thing. and you really don't want to pay more than you have to. only citi price rewind automatically searches for the lowest price. and if it finds one, you get refunded the difference. just use your citi card and register your purchase online. have a super sparkly day! ok. [ male announcer ] now all you need is a magic carriage. citi price rewind. start saving at citi.com/pricerewind.
offer big discounts, crowds of people fill the streets and stores today hoping to take advantage of those sales. we're a few minutes away from the top of the hour and "the situation room". joe johns is here with the preview. >> a lot of news out there for the day after christmas. we're counting down the minutes until we reach the fiscal cliff. the congress and the white house are running out of time. there was supposed to be a leadership telephone conversation today, while the president heads back here from hawaii. senior congressional correspondent dana bash is following that closely, so we'll be checking in with her. we're also staying on the story of the gun culture in america. we'll talk to former congressman asa hutchinson, a man who is very well known here in the nation's capital, a long-time friend of the gun lobby. he's been tapped to lead the nra plan to put armed guards in schools.nra plan to put armed guards in school. also the weather is a very big story. blizzard conditions in indiana and other places. we'll take a look at just how bad that can get. all that at the top of the hour. >> joe johns, thank you.
they inspire us, sometimes they even anger us. they're the most intriguing people of 2012. so who made the list? broo brooke baldwin counts down the top ten people who shaped the year that was. >> number 10, john roberts.broo top ten people who shaped the year that was. >> number 10, john roberts. >> united states supreme court in a major decision upholds the president's health care reform law. >> few could have imagined the deciding vote was cast by the chief justice himself. conservatives stunned. liberals, perplexed but thrilled. forging ahead, the roberts court takes on same-sex marriage. number nine. yahoo! ceo marissa mayer. head of a major tech company in a male dominated field, pregnant. it's the baby part that became
problematic, shall we say, when she decided to take just a couple of weeks for maternity leave. the mommy blogosphere went nuts. sure she could be woman in charge, but what message was she sending by not staying home longer with her baby? number and i had, south korean rapper cy. ♪ say what you want, his has so he inspired dance style first discovered on youtube had everyone going gangnam. and we mean everyone. >> the has so lasso and then th. >> he was riding high in 2012. the most watched youtube video of all-time. number seven, republican presidential candidate mitt romney. >> this election is over, but
our principles endure. >> he ran on his impressive business credential, but it was his multiple gaffes that analysts say helped seal his fate. remember the 47% comments? >> 47% who are with him. >> and this one. >> binders full of women. >> number six, ex-cia director general david petraeus. >> breaking news now coming in regarding the chief of the cia. general david petraeus. >> can you talk with us, please? >> the news was unexpected. the reason, shocking. petrae petraeus, retired four star general, had quit his cia post and admitted he had cheated on his wife. petraeus' mistress was also his biographier, paula broadwell, an embarrassing exit by one of the
most respected public servants of his time. >> next you'll see the five most intriguing people of 2012. [ sniffs ] i have a cold. [ sniffs ] i took dayquil but my nose is still runny. [ male announcer ] truth is, dayquil doesn't treat that. really? [ male announcer ] alka-seltzer plus fights your worst cold symptoms, plus it relieves your runny nose. [ breathes deeply ] awesome. [ male announcer ] yes, it is.
let's face it he did what no human has ever done, diving 24 miles from the edge of space. breaking the sound barrier along the way. >> i'm still the same guy, but as soon as you start traveling, people recognize my face. a little scared. >> number four. new jersey governor chris christie. >> the shore and board walk of my childhood no longer exists. >> the rough and tumble governor took charge when a super storm named sandy ravaged his state days before the presidential election. a romney backer suddenly christie was standing arm in arm with the president praising mr. obama's leadership as they toured sandy's wrath. >> when you know you have responsibility for those folks, could you give a damn about the
politics of things. i could care less., owlympian g douglas. one of the fab five of the london games, she captured our hearts becoming the first african-american gymnast to win gold in both the individual all-around and team competitions at the same olympics. >> i wanted to inspire a nation. and the whole point is to inspire a generation, and i love that. >> she did just that. number two, the school aged activist. malala rose to fame blogging about the brutality of her life in pakistan under taliban rule. not yet a teenager, she dared to suggest girls not only deserve but have a right to an education. >> i will get my education if it is in home, school or anyplace.
>> the taliban retaliated, hunting her down, shooting her in the neck and back. the attack outraged even hardened pakistanis and all around the world, malala quickly became a symbol of good against evil. today she's recovering in england. number one. president obama. >> tonight you voted for action, not politics as usual. >> after a long and we mean long and bitter campaign, president obama won re-election. in 2012, the president also won the supreme court stamp of approval for his health care reform program and made history with this statement. >> i think same-sex couples should be able to get married. ♪ >> as 2012 comes to a